Known for speaking truth to power through his poetry and his radical attitude when it came to fighting for what was right, Sahir Ludhianvi was an entirely different person in his private life, poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar said here Saturday.
“He was a very paradoxical man, I can’t say a more boring thing about him if I say he was a good man. When he was good he could be good beyond limits and same goes for when he was angry with somebody. It was like a pendulum with him,” Akhtar said at a session during the ongoing Jashn-e-Rekhta festival.
The poet, who was the only son of a rich landlord, stayed with his mother after her divorce during early childhood and led a life of poverty before becoming a successful poet and lyricist.
Akhtar said that it was wrong to think that such a successful poet must have led an easy life considering the suffering he had gone through.
“Do you think a man who led a relaxed life, the one with money and comfort would name his book ‘talkhiyan’ (bitterness)? It is not possible. His life was full of bitterness and sadness and it remained with him till his last days,” the 74-year-old lyricist said.
Looking at his social life, nobody could imagine the kind of effect his mother had on him, he added.
Reminiscing an incident at Ludhianvi’s Versova home in Mumbai, Akhtar said that he had never seen such a mother-son relationship before or after the poet, who died in 1980.
At one of their drinking sessions, Ludhianvi commented on the political situation and everyone agreed to his opinion.
“He thanked everyone and in middle of the conversation he walked to the other end of the house to his mother’s room, narrated the entire incident to her, told her how everyone appreciated his point of view and then came back,” Akhtar remembered with an evident surprise.
This was a 45-year-old successful poet who could admonish ministers, fight with directors, producers, music directors and sought approval of his mother for the smallest thing, he added.
“He had these two different sides to him. He was not one man, there were several men inside him,” the lyricist said.
Ludhianvi was known as the “people’s poet” as his writings reflected their loves, sufferings, angst and joy. He also worked extensively as a film song lyricist for close to three decades.